Ports & Ships Maritime News

Jan 4, 2007
Author: P&S

We greet all our readers at the start of 2007. May it be a happy and successful year for all


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  • Angolan ports show increase in volumes

  • French line CMA CGM looks at Moroccan shipping line

  • Southern Angolan railway receives new locomotives and rolling stock

  • Eat your heart out Durban

  • Pic of the day – MOL Sunrise

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    Angolan ports show increase in volumes

    Port Cabinda in the Angolan enclave handled a total of 13,387 containers during 2006 and over 200,000 tonnes of cargo for the year which was more than had been budgeted for, says the port director Osvaldo Lobo de Nascimento.

    Much of the cargo handled by the enclave’s port is related to the oil industry – oil rigs positioned off the coast of Cabinda to the north of Angola produce the majority of Angola’s oil production.

    De Nascimento indicated that attention will be given to improving security at Cabinda port during 2007 as well as attending to outstanding environmental issues.

    Further south in Angola proper the Port of Luanda reports an increase in cargo handled totalling 33 percent, with the port topping out at 5 million tonnes for the year. The port’s managing board chairman Silvio Vinhas told a meeting of the port’s Consultative Council that additional effort was required from all council members to promote Luanda port in an effort to developing a better flow of traffic through the region.

    Among the reasons for the existence of the Consultative Council is to assist in finding better and more efficient means of transport logistics in the Luanda area, involving all forms of transport.

    French line CMA CGM looks at Moroccan shipping line

    French liner operator CMA CGM has confirmed reports that it is interested in acquiring a controlling interest in the Moroccan shipping company, which is shortly to be privatised by the Moroccan government.

    CMA CGM is known to be interested in increasing its presence in North Africa and believes the Moroccan shipping company would be a suitable match. The French carrier already has a strong presence in the North African country with five services handling about 60,000 TEUs annually.

    Several other shipping groups are thought to be interested also in acquiring Comanav, among which Swiss/Italian shipping giant MSC has been mentioned, although this would perhaps be something of a surprise considering that MSC has traditionally grown organically rather than through takeovers.

    Southern Angolan railway receives new locomotives and rolling stock

    The first three locomotives and a number of railway wagons have arrived at the southern Angolan port of Namibe where an Indian construction group is undertaking the rehabilitation of the railway between Namibe and the inland town of Menongue.

    The locos and wagons were sourced from India.

    The initial target is to reach the principal town of Lubango, about 200km from the port.

    A second batch of locomotive and wagons is expected to arrive by sea during March, which will enable the rehabilitated railway to extend services beyond Lubango as far as the town of Matala.

    Among the objectives behind the railway’s rehabilitation, apart from the obvious one of reopening the interior to commerce, is to help develop trade for the port at Namibe (the former Moçamedes).

    Authorities expect the line to carry up to one million passengers annually by the time it is complete, in addition to general freight. Both Angola and Zambia also have serious ambitions to link the rail beyond Menongue and into Zambia, thus providing that landlocked country with yet another alternative route to a seaport. Work has already begun in Zambia towards making this a reality.

    Eat your heart out Durban

    Tourism authorities at Durban in particular have worked hard in recent years at attracting greater numbers of cruise ships to come to Southern Africa and Durban in particular. In some respects this hard work has paid off, with Starlight Cruises and MSC Cruises jointly operating the 1500-passenger cruise ship Melody from the port during summer months in addition to other visiting ships.

    Attempts to also station a second MSC cruise ship, Monterey at Durban on an all-year basis fell through when the popular American-built ship developed boiler problems that hastened her end at the breakers yards in India.

    The motivating factor behind these efforts comes into perspective when once looks at what was recently achieved at Port Everglades in Florida, USA – not that Durban or any other East or Southern African port would harbour ambitions of such magnitude or importance, but it does reflect the sheer value to the tourism industry of cruise ship visits.

    On a single day last month, 23 December, over 46,000 passengers either sailed into or out from Port Everglades, setting a new record for any port anywhere. As has been pointed out in the American media, this was enough people to fill one hundred 747 jumbo aircraft.

    It required 13 cruise ships in port that day to achieve this new record – the previous record held also by Port Everglades at 44,000 passengers required 15 ships, indicating how cruise ships are getting bigger by the year.

    The logistics of handling or processing such large numbers of passengers is pretty mind boggling and one wonders how well any South Africa port would cope with just a fraction of this number. At times Durban and Cape Town have hosted up to three cruise ships in port together and have coped quite well, but in the case of Durban at least it has been with few passengers either beginning or ending their cruises in port, thus reducing the need for immigration and other officialdom.

    Already there are reports that Durban’s N-Shed passenger terminal takes strain twice a week when the Melody disgorges its flock of guests even as another group of over anxious passengers gathers in anticipation of going on board. Multiply this a couple of times and one wonders how our ports would cope.

    Of course it’s not only the strain on port facilities but also on local airports, hotels, taxi services, tour bus services, road systems etc that come into question. This was borne out during a visit by Miami port officials about two years ago when they emphasised the planning that needs to go into accommodating large numbers of passengers.

    Look at all the fuss and preparation and investment that is going into preparing for the 2010 World Soccer Cup in which up to 60,000 or 70,000 people have to be accommodated for what will basically be a one-off event, then consider how much real potential there is in attracting cruise ships with their thousands of better behaved visitors to our shores and cities.

    In the meantime Durban can eat its heart out at what Port Everglades enjoys on a fairly regular basis.

    Pic of the day – MOL Sunrise

    Click on image to enlarge – with some browsers click twice

    The container ship MOL SUNRISE in Cape Town harbour on 21 December 2006. Picture by Ian Shiffman

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